By Erin Mitchell
Wow…it’s been a crazy few weeks. Lots going on, and so it seems like a good time to round up some observations…
BEA. The Rumble in the Javits. Book Nerds Unite. However you look at it, BEA is a big deal if for no other reason than there are a ton of people there, each of whom has some connection to book world. While I’m far from a fan of the locale (the combination of pigeons flying around the show floor at $6 for a Diet Coke doesn’t blow my skirt up), I love the energy. I say it every year: if someone tells you books or reading or stories are dead or dying, suggest she or he come to BEA.
If you are a member of Mystery Writers of America (and if you’re not, why not?), be sure to familiarize yourself with the fantastic member benefits around BEA. It’s a fantastic place to meet librarians, book bloggers, media, and booksellers…and if you buy me a Diet Coke, I’ll be your friend for life.
If you have been so lucky as to avoid these lists, here’s one…they’re basically all the same.
How I hate these lists. You know why? As a reader, I find both their tone and content offensive. But they keep showing up…on blogs, in Facebook posts…they’re hard to avoid. The thing is, I have no problem with authors asking readers for their help in spreading the word about their books. You can and should do this. But to do so in a way that implies some kind of obligation on the part of readers? That’s not cool.
Assuming a reader has purchased your book (that is, not shoplifted it or stolen it electronically), she or he has no obligation to the author. None. Nada. If said gentle reader enjoys the book and wants to go write a review somewhere? Wonderful. If you want to remind them that so doing is helpful? That’s great too. Authors who make lists, though, veer into the territory of obnoxious—this is entirely different from a specific request—and always come across like they have no respect whatsoever for their readers. Please cut that shit out.
Don’t worry…if you haven’t seen it, I’m not going to spoil it for you.
In my less-than-humble opinion, Justified is one of the finest television series ever produced, in no small part because it was always true to the Elmore Leonard short story on which it was based and also the history of Harlan County. I wasn’t gaga about the finale, if I’m honest, but it sure was classy. I think Mr. Leonard would have been proud. That last scene was one for the ages, and gave us a new phrase to put on the shelf next to GitOffMyLawn:
We dug coal together.